Rev. Adam Phillips responds to the historic and traumatizing decision by the United Methodist Church’s General Conference to uphold exclusionary policies and how it does not affect us renting space at UMC building…
This week Christ Church: Portland celebrates our fifth anniversary as an open, active & inclusive church. We are absolutely committed to the full inclusion of our LGBTQ siblings at all levels of leadership and participation in our church. Our commitment to full inclusion is rooted in our Ethos, which are guiding principles that frame our core values. Our Ethos is summarized by these five words: Equality, Inclusion, Relationships, Hope & Perseverance. This Ethos, centered in the life and model of Christ, is the lens through which we weigh all partnerships and decisions in and around our community. For instance, in looking at a couple key partnerships and even building locations, we have walked away from opportunities because they have not been in alignment with our Ethos.
We are grateful for our current home at historic Rose City Park United Methodist Church. RCPUMC was one of the first churches in the state of Oregon, and in the United Methodist Church denomination, to declare full inclusion and affirmation of the LGBTQ community. While we are not Methodists, we have much in common with these neighbors in the faith!
As you may have seen, this week the General Conference of the United Methodist Church doubled-down on excluding our LGBTQ friends and neighbors from inclusion and leadership. It was a heartbreaking, traumatic blow.
Many have asked: how does this effect Christ Church? In short: it does not affect us at all.
In speaking with Pastor Steve from RCPUMC and regional Methodist leadership, what it means for them practically is that nothing changes - the entire Western Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church will continue, as they have for years, to be "fully inclusive, welcoming all God's children." You can read their statement here. We have overwhelmingly heard from local, regional and national Methodist leaders that we are not just welcome to share worship space, we are abundantly included.
We live in a time of great change and I'm convinced the Spirit is moving in powerful, fresh ways. It's my conviction many of the country's institutions, systems, and communities are just catching up to the movement of the Spirit.
Join with me in prayer and solidarity as neighbors to our Methodist friends. This Sunday, I'll be especially mindful of the inclusive banner we worship under week in and week out.
If you have any questions or just simply want to process with someone, please don't hesitate to reach out.
ps. And if you are looking for some inspiring words, check out JJ Warren's testimony from the floor of the UMCGC this week!